In October, the government announced an increase for 2023 to the payments that Social Security beneficiaries receive every month. Starting in January, beneficiaries – including retirees, disabled people, and children – will receive more than $140 extra per month, an 8.7% growth over this year. This has been a long-awaited upturn, the largest one in 40 years. The goal of the adjustment is to help the 70 million Americans living on Social Security so they can keep up with the rising costs of living. This is critical for Washingtonians where the cost of living is 54% higher than the national average.
Also important to know is that the Social Security Administration is this nation’s largest support system for children. In fact, there are about 4 million children that receive social security benefits, and an unknown number of children who also are helped because they’re being cared for by disability beneficiaries, like their grandparents. According to the U.S. Census, in 2020, there were about 2.4 million grandparents responsible their grandchildren. In Washington state alone, there are 43,000 grandparents – ages 55 years and older – raising their grandchildren or children of kin. For these families, the COLA increase can help put food on the table, and gas in their cars to get kids to school and activities.
At Benefits Law Center, our five attorneys are dedicated to providing homeless and low-income people with judicial support to navigate the rigors of the court system to obtain or restore their rightful Social Security benefits – individuals living with serious mental and physical disabilities. This year alone, our legal aid helped more than 800 clients in King County to obtain $287,488 in lost backpay. Our attorneys also supported clients in waiving or reversing $242,054 in erroneous debt assigned to them by the Social Security Administration. Helping individuals and families restore or regain income allows them to maintain or access housing, economic security, and medical treatments – our legal aid and advocacy are life-changing.
Our attorneys say their clients are ecstatic about the rise in Social Security payouts. But they also question whether the COLA increases will make that much of a difference for some of our clients, considering the upward climb in basic need costs due to inflation. Experts say that inflation is going to have a dramatic effect on the health care system in 2023, sending medical costs soaring. All of our disabled clients are dependent on the health care system.
To read more about these updates, please refer to the recent articles in the Seattle Times: